Sankranti festivities injure birds
As people in various parts of the country celebrated Makar Sankranti festival by flying kites, their festivities left behind a large number of birds with injuries of such a serious scale that half of them may not even survive.
In Ahmedabad, several bird lovers and vets from within the country and abroad have gathered to attend the winged friends that have been brought to them severely wounded.
Vets from Britain, America and Sri Lanka along with local activists are according medical care to the wounded birds and sensitising the kite-flying fads in the city.
This year the problem was grave, as kite fliers in the city used Chinese nylon threads for flying kites, thereby, causing serious injuries to the birds.
Animal Health Foundation in Ahmedabad, a well-equipped hospital with five operation tables and hi-tech facilities said that the damage was so large this time that nearly fifty per cent of the injured birds could not be saved.
"This time the Chinese nylon threads were widely used. Last year it was cotton manja mainly, so the injuries was not that grave. But this year the use of nylon threads led to the cutting of bones of these birds. A lot of birds have landed here. Nearly 350 till now of which 50 per cent have died. We operated on the rest and I believe they will get well soon," said Rahul Saigal, Founder, Animal Health Foundation.
"We had prepared a lot for the festival. This is a war-like situation for us. Birds are landing here every five minutes since Sunday. We are hopeful that fifty per cent of these birds will be able to fly in the sky again," added Saigal.
Dr Andrew Routh, Chief Veterinary Officer, Zoological Society of London (ZSL), who has come here along with family, said he flies down every year before the festival to extend his helping hand for the treatment of these birds.
As Dr Routh noted, unrestrained kite-flying would bring the vulture population further down.
"We are working here with this veterinary team for the past three years, especially, during the kite festival to save the vultures that have been injured here," said Dr Routh.
Bird watchers say, every year pigeons, crows, eagles and parrots get seriously injured or killed due to the sharp thread, which is actually glass powder coated thread, used to fly kites.
While number of organisations in Ahmedabad are carrying out extensive awareness campaigns and setting up hospitals to treat the wounded avians, some organisations are asking people to refrain from kite flying.
Makar Sankranti, which marks the transit of the sun to the northern hemisphere every year on January 14, is celebrated in many parts of north and western India by kite flying.